How We Score

We give each book an overall rating, but we also rate the following categories individually:

  • Plot
  • Characters
  • Relationships
  • Violence or profanity (the more stars, the less violence or profanity)
  • Readability

Here is what our ratings mean:

  • 5 stars – Loved it, few if any flaws, can’t recommend it enough. I will buy everything else this author writes for the rest of time and highly recommend this book to others.
  • 4 stars – loved the book and recommend it but there were a few issues. I will buy other books from this author and recommend this book to others. (This would be for a book you really loved but had some typos or stilted writing in parts but the flaws didn’t overwhelm you).
  • 3 stars – There were some flaws but I still really enjoyed the book and would recommend to others. I will probably buy future works from this author. (Maybe you loved the characters and the plot but there were parts that weren’t fleshed out enough, the plot seemed rushed, and some typos or bad writing kept you from recommending it wholeheartedly).
  • 2 stars – This just wasn’t my type of book or issues with the writing/plot/or characters could not be overlooked.  I wouldn’t recommend it or buy from this author in the future.
  • 1 star – This book really didn’t work for me. I won’t buy from this author again or recommend the book to others.
  • NF – I did not finish the book. (The reviewer should state why they didn’t finish it).

We also rate profanity, violence and sex by amount and type. This score does not reflect the quality of the book, but allows the reader to make an informed decision as to whethr or not it is a book they want to read based on content. We rate those three items as follows:

  • Profanity – Some, Moderate, Pervasive
  • Violence – Some, Moderate, Pervasive




    • Includes Torture – Yes, No
    • Includes Rape – Yes, No
  • Sex – Warm, Hot, Steamy, Erotica, Erotica with BDSM

Celebration toast with champagneThese ratings are for normal books. On occasion we expect (hope!) to read a really exceptional book. When we run across a really exceptional book, there will be a graphic of champagne glasses. This means that the book is better than our normal 5 star rating. To get this rating, two or more reviewers must agree that the book is exceptional. A really exceptional book can happen in any genre – what makes it special is that the reviewers would recommend this book to anyone. For instance, Jessie wouldn't normally recommend a 5 star romance novel to her brother; but she would recommend a really exceptional romance novel to him. These books must really touch the reviewers in some way, and be a book that they would recommend to anyone to read. We also feel that each of the reviewers should give you a bit of an idea of how they review, as everyone is a bit different, so here is a description of their style from each of the reviewers:

  • Jessie – Jessie is a moderate rater. She's fair to the book and the rating guidelines. She feels that most 5 star books probably don't really deserve 5 stars; but that is the industry standard, so she doesn't want to deviate from that. She feels that a 5 star book would easily be recommended to friends who enjoy that genre; however, she wouldn't necessarily recommend them to someone who doesn't normally read or particularly enjoy that genre. Jessie's reviews tend to be a bit more terse and to the point than many, but that's probably because she loves mysteries! Jessie mostly reviews mystery/detective/suspense and literature. She'll also review romance (and often mystery and romance intersect). She'll rarely review science fiction or fantasy. Violence does not bother Jessie at all; sex and profanity need to add to the story line, or she finds it annoying and will probably mark the book down because of it. Most of the reviews you'll see from Jessie will be 4-5 stars, as she doesn't finish anything that isn't pretty darn good. However, she won't give a book a "Didn't Finish" unless she reads at least 4-5 chapters; she feels it's unfair to the author not to read enough of the book to give a legitimate reason for not finishing.
  • Lori – Lori likes to read contemporary romance novels, romantic suspense, small town romance, erotica (including bdsm) and some mysteries. She does not read material with significant torture scenes as they give her nightmares. You may notice Lori doesn't generally give any ratings lower than a four or five star. There's a simple reason for that. If something is not on the level of a four or five star book, she's not going to take the time to read it! Lori is a writer herself and needs time to work on her own material. If she gets ten or twenty pages into a book and doesn't love it, she doesn't go any further. When she doesn't finish a book, that book is not listed or rated on the site. ***Please note: Lori's books are featured on the site and she does ocassionally post blogs about her work, but her books are never reviewed on the site since she's friends with all of the reviewers!
  • Kate – Kate is a generous rater. She's fair to the book and the rating guidelines. It would be ununusual to see less than a 3 star rating, because she's picky with her time and is unlikely to finish a book she isn't enjoying immensely. Any book rating a 4 or higher, Kate would read a second or even third time. Any book rating a 3 or higher she would comfortably recommend to a friend who enjoyed the genre type represented by the book. She tends not to notice profanity, unless it's extreme or overused. So if she marks profanity as pervasive, cover your ears! Kate generally reads mystery, urban fantasy, historical romance, regency romance, paranormal romance, and fantasy.


















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